The next eatery with outside seating in Blog Preston’s series of summer reviews is The Artisan Deli in Penwortham, one of the more recent additions to the growing restaurant and bar scene in Liverpool Road.Advertisement
My daughter Ground Zero and I visited on a Saturday lunchtime to pretend to ourselves that we were on holiday.
Apart from the indoor table where we were seated there were only two other tables free inside and outside, which was a good sign.
The outside area was simply done, with natural and turquoise rattan chairs and decent sized tables. On warm days customers can watch dogs exiting Bubbles and Bark, majestically floofed, children enjoying an excellent ice cream at The Cow Shed across the road, and adults leaving The Fleece Inn, looking shocked.
Every available inch inside the deli is crammed with bottles of alcohol and the type of decadent produce that can’t be eaten on its own, like relishes, olives, and stuff stuffed inside other stuff. Almost a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for adults.
Fortunately my mother Yvonne – who enthusiastically accompanies me to most of my reviews – was busy that day, or she would no doubt have got herself Augustus Glooped on a lake of red wine, and come dangerously close to finding herself jammed up Willy’s chutney funnel.
The lunch menu was small and simple, with sandwiches such as posh egg mayo with asparagus and a hint of curry, and salami and Manchego with sweet onion relish, as well as salads and deli boards.
We decided on a mixed deli board for two at £23.50, which arrived quickly despite us having been advised that there’d be a bit of a wait.
It looked fabulous, with colours, textures and shapes artfully arranged on a long, narrow wooden platter. A basket of fresh, hand cut bread followed shortly after.
There were five types of meat, including Serrano ham, pastrami and salami, and nine different types of cheese, as well as salad leaves, tomatoes, crackers, filo twists, grapes, pretzels, olives and two small pots of relish. The meats were all properly cured, spiced and matured with no corners cut, although we both thought the pâté was a little bland.
Although each cheese was excellent, most of them were mild and there were none of the blue cheeses that can be found locally such as Garstang Blue and Butler’s fabulous Blacksticks Blue, which was a pity. There was a mozzarella, a feta with olives, what appeared to be a brie, as well as a bright pink cheese, a marbled green one, a black one and a couple of beige numbers.
It would have been helpful to have seen a list of the different items on the platter so we knew what we were eating, especially as so many of them were available to buy in the shop. I only managed to find out that our favourite of the cheeses was a cheddar with charcoal, and that the two delicious relishes were chipotle jam and a chutney made of caramelised red onion with ginger.
Read more: Review: The Bamber Bridge pub that Hobnails a cheese and onion pie
At £23.50 for two people the platter wasn’t cheap, but there was enough food for three to share. When factoring in the amount of local, artisan produce that was used in the platter and the atmosphere, decor and service, it becomes a reasonably priced slice of luxury, and one that I’d happily order again.
However, next time I’ll share one with two friends and we might take advantage of the late weekend opening by trying one of the many bottles of wine or local gins on offer in this fantastic little Delicatessen, before hopefully hitting Gin Jar Ale and definitely missing The Fleece Inn.
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Have you been up Willy’s chutney funnel? Don’t tell us about it in the comments, this is a family blog.